New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that all students in city public schools will return for in-person learning in September.
“New York City public schools—1 million kids—will be back in their classroom in September, all in-person, no remote,” de Blasio said during an appearance on NBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “That’s the news I think parents, kids, everyone’s been waiting for: to know we’re going to be back strong, ready, [and] safe.”
Fully in-person, no remote, for NYC in September.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio breaks news on @Morning_Joe: "New York City public schools, 1 million kids, will be back in their classroom in September, all in-person, no remote." pic.twitter.com/ujqEJXExFf
— The Recount (@therecount) May 24, 2021
Like other districts across the country, New York schools had implemented widespread closures due to fears of coronavirus spread among students and teachers. Major cities across the country refused to return to full-time in-person instruction this year, even after data drawn from other countries — and from states like Florida, where schools have been open full-time since the fall — showed that the risk of COVID transmission in schools is negligible.
The resistance to full reopening was primarily driven by teachers unions, including in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, reportedly influenced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention school reopening guidelines.
The New York public school district is the largest in the U.S. with over 1.1 million students, and around one in ten students are classified as homeless. New York’s Department of Education has distributed iPads with cellular data to thousands of homeless students in an attempt to facilitate remote learning.
The planned reopening of New York’s public schools for the new school year comes after 60 percent of city residents age 16 or older have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, significantly blunting the spread of the illness.